Samdech, Your Royal Highnesses,
Your Excellencies Head of Delegations,
Distinguished Delegates and Honored Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Once again, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to extend the warmest welcome to you all, the delegates from ASEAN countries and the special guests of ASEAN, who attend the 25th AIPO General Assembly. Indeed, I am pleased and honored by your presence during this luncheon in honor of all delegates, distinguished national and international guests in Phnom Penh, the Kingdom of Cambodia.
It is indeed a great opportunity for Cambodia to host the 25th AIPO General Assembly, an august body of ASEAN. Though Cambodia has gone through ups and downs and experienced difficulties, our Royal Government of Cambodia and the Cambodian people have successfully overcome all challenges, both big and small. I would like to thank Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh, Chairman of the National Assembly and Chairman of the the 25th AIPO General Assembly, the leaders of the National Assembly and Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia for exerting considerable efforts to organize this historic event, testifying that Cambodia has turned a corner of history, stricken by uncertainty, internal strife, protracted war, instability and backwardness, in order to become a nation truly enjoying peace, safety, social order, that respects for human rights, the principles of democracy, the rights and dignity of people, aimed at promoting cooperation and development. This is a very short period, if compared with a long history of developed countries, but we have displayed to our international partners that Cambodia is undoubtedly capable of engaging, on an equal footing, as a real partner in regional and global affairs.
Since the first day of its ASEAN membership, Cambodia is very proud to contribute to the regional efforts, aimed at strengthening peace through our rigorous adherence to the principles of democracy and market economy, the respect for and the protection of human rights, truly upholding peace, stability and national reconciliation. This is construed as our contribution to the common causes as an equal and efficient partner of ASEAN. Meanwhile, as one of ASEAN member, Cambodia has doubled efforts to fulfill her obligations and responsibilities by embarking on a wide range of comprehensive reform programs with the view to effectively integrating herself into the region.
We are conscious that we have a long way to go to establish an ASEAN Community, thus achieving a highest degree of economic cooperation and integration. Our success will depend on how the integration programs, initiated by the Heads of State and Government of ASEAN, will be implemented. In this sense, I believe that, with active and full support from the Parliament of each member, ASEAN will be able to stand up to the challenges and fully grasp its destiny.
Notwithstanding the challenges ahead of us, I am convinced that with the linkages, born out of common aspirations for a better shared future, will allow us to get over the development challenges. In this regard, we will experience improved livelihood of our people in the near future, through our joint efforts to promote sincere cooperation among ASEAN members.
Finally, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and Cambodian people I have the honor to invite Samdech, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen to join me in a toast:
· To the good health and longevity of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia and Her Majesty Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk;
· To the good health and longevity of heads of delegation, the distinguished delegates and honored guests of the 25thAIPO General Assembly;
· To the success of the 25th AIPO General Assembly and entire ASEAN Community!